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Crime and Courts

No charges to be filed against officer who killed good Samaritan in Olde Town Arvada shooting

The Arvada officer, Kraig Brownlow, was legally justified when he shot Johnny Hurley, who was armed, in June as police responded to a shooting that also left Officer Gordon Beesley dead, 1st Judicial District Attorney Alexis King said Monday.

A photo from the scene of a shooting in Olde Town Arvada. (Ryan Dunn, Colorado Community Media)
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No charges will be filed against the police officer who fatally shot a good Samaritan credited with saving the lives of people in Arvada’s Olde Town Square this summer.

The Arvada officer, Kraig Brownlow, was legally justified when he shot Johnny Hurley, who was armed, in June as police responded to the shooting that also left Officer Gordon Beesley dead, 1st Judicial District Attorney Alexis King said Monday.

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King, speaking at a news conference outside the Jefferson County District attorney’s office in Golden, said Brownlow had “objectively reasonable grounds and did believe that he and others were in imminent danger of being killed that day.” 

“The officers that day saw a mass shooter, heard many rounds of gunfire in broad daylight in the heart of Olde Town Arvada,” she said. 

Brownlow is still employed by the department but is not working on patrol, Detective Dave Snelling said.

Investigators reviewed more than 3,200 photographs and 1,000 pages of reports from several police agencies that responded to the shooting, King said. 

“One thing that became evident throughout our review was that John Hurley that day acted as a hero. Had he survived, we would have praised his bravery in engaging a mass shooter before anyone else was killed,” she said. “He acted to defend others and we will remember him for his selflessness.”

About 1:30 p.m. on June 21, three officers assigned to the community outreach team were stationed in a small office building north of the busy Olde Town Square shopping district, King said. They were finishing lunch when they heard a series of gunshots.

Ronald Troyke, 59, who was driving a pickup truck, pulled into a parking space, jumped out with a weapon and began to run toward Beesley, according to Arvada police. Beesley was shot twice. 

Brownlow, who has been employed with the department for six years, was standing with his weapon drawn near a door on the east side of the building, according to the district attorney’s office. He watched Troyke walk back toward the square while holding his rifle, but soon lost sight of him.

Brownlow heard a third round of gunfire but couldn’t see Troyke, or anyone else, firing a weapon. He then saw Hurley, holding Troyke’s rifle and a handgun, and it appeared as if Hurley was reloading the rifle or trying to fix something while holstering his pistol, the district attorney’s office said. 

Brownlow saw glass and shattered windows on the patrol trucks in the parking lot. He entered a door to the building, held up his weapon and fired three rounds toward Hurley, according to the district attorney’s office.

Hurley was struck in his pelvis, according to an autopsy report cited in the district attorney’s report of the shooting.

One officer attended to Hurley, while Brownlow and another officer searched for Troyke, who was found in an adjacent alleyway.

“Working on a case like this is an incredibly humbling experience because we lost two people that day when a mass shooter brought violence to the heart of Old Town Arvada,” King said. “This left the city in mourning and knowing the impact of these losses was a profound responsibility charged to our team.”